View this email in your browser

Hi folks,

We have some exciting things to share with you in this edition of TECA Insights. First, TECA’s fall support groups are¬†in full swing and we look forward to you¬†joining us¬†as we talk about how families are coping in these trying times.

I also wanted to share that TECA board member Jenn Choi has been continuing her activism around special ed teacher shortages in NYC. Last month she and Special Support Services conducted a survey asking for family feedback on how education for special needs students has been compromised in NYC during the pandemic. While they are tabulating the results, you can read the parent feedback they have started sharing. Congratulations to Jenn and her teammates, Amber Decker and Rachel Ford for their important work!
Lastly, as Coronavirus cases surge around the country, we urge you and your family to wear a mask as much as possible and practice social distancing!

As always, I hope you stay safe and healthy!
Maratea Cantarella
TECA Executive Director

Hawai’i Set to Drop Acellus Remote Learning Platform Following Allegations of Abuse Against Creator

Hawai Ľi is the first state expected to drop the controversial online learning platform, Acellus, following a¬†OneZero¬†investigation into the product and its creator, Roger Billings. But while hundreds of schools across the islands will likely stop using Acellus, countless other school districts in the United States continue to use the platform, a¬†OneZero¬†review found.¬†Read more at OneZero.

As we await the results of Special Support Service’s NYC Special Ed Teacher Shortage Survey, they are releasing voices of families of students with disabilities who are disproportionately impacted by¬†NYC Schools unfair reopening plan. We ask if laws protecting students with disabilities are broken, is any student safe?¬†Read more on Twitter.

Your Guide to Using Health Insurance to Get Mental Health Care 


In September, The Mighty published the results of an investigation into what it’s like for therapists to accept health insurance. In California, in fact, about 40% of therapists don’t work with insurance companies.

It turns out for many therapists who work on their own, they have a hard time making a living because the amount they earn through insurance is too low when they factor in their costs. Insurance companies also don’t make it easy to keep up with paperwork, follow up on unpaid claims or sign up to accept insurance in the first place. You can read the whole article here. Read more at The Mighty.


My Teen Is Suffering Quarantine Fatigue. How Can I Lift the Dark Cloud?

Several months of quarantine have transformed all of us into unhealthy versions of our former selves.¬†Remote learning¬†is challenging for many teenagers, especially so for those with ADHD and low¬†self-esteem. Their¬†executive function skills¬†‚ÄĒ in the part of the brain that manages organization, motivation, self-monitoring, attention, future thinking, and prioritization ‚ÄĒ lag approximately three years behind those of neurotypical classmates.¬†Read more at ADDitude.

61,000 Kids Tested Positive for COVID Last Week ‚ÄĒ What Does That Mean?

More than 61,000 kids tested positive for COVID-19 last week, from Oct. 22 to Oct. 29. That’s the highest number of kids diagnosed in one week since the start of the pandemic. These figures are frustrating and scary, but not unexpected. After all, the U.S. is facing another surge of the coronavirus before we’ve fully recovered from the first two. On Wednesday, the country shattered its record for the most new COVID-19 cases in one day with 102,831, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracking data. This is the first time the country has surpassed 100,000 new cases in one day. Read more at Fatherly.

7 Surprising Breathing Exercises to Instantly Reduce Stress

Air is vital to our survival. But when we find ourselves facing extraordinary levels of stress, as is today’s daily norm, it can be difficult to catch our breath.

Stress can feel suffocating. And eight months into this so-called new normal, individuals and communities are inevitably struggling to hold on to air. A recent poll by the American Psychological Association shows that more than a third of Americans (36%) say the pandemic is having a serious impact on their mental health. Nearly 60% say it is seriously affecting their day-to-day lives and negatively affecting their finances. And two-thirds fear that the confluence of related pandemic and social issues will have long-term consequences for the economy. Read more at Elemental

What Nobody Tells You About Self-Care

In social work, ‚Äúself-care‚ÄĚ is one of those terms that is so overused, it has ceased to mean anything. Typically when self-care is referenced, the speaker is referring to activities and experiences that bring you pleasure. ‚ÄúThe work in this field is really tough. You have to¬†practice self-care. Go to a yoga class. Take a walk on a sunny day. Protect your leisure¬†time. Get a mani-pedi. Soak in¬†a bubble bath. Treat yo‚Äôself.‚Ä̬†Read more at The Mighty.


Keeping students with dyslexia engaged in virtual learning

Many components of dyslexia intervention can be replicated virtually without much difficulty, says Katy Vassar, communication and evaluations coordinator at the Dyslexia Center of Austin.

Think about the multisensory aspect and using as many senses as possible to engage in learning concepts. Interactivity is also important. ‚ÄúWe know when talking about all learners that just sitting there having a person listen is not as effective as having them engaged in learning,‚ÄĚ she says. ‚ÄúThey really need that interaction.‚Ä̬†Read more at District Administrator.


Not Just Bad at Math: 10 Things to Know About

I nearly failed or did fail every math class I‚Äôve ever taken. I can‚Äôt do simple mental math. I can‚Äôt keep numbers straight. I thought I was just bad at math and clumsy until I failed a math class in high school. I always had good grades in the rest of my classes, so this came as a shock.¬†Despite what my teachers and peers said to me as a child, I‚Äôm not just ‚Äúbad at math,‚ÄĚ and I‚Äôm not too ‚Äúright-brained.‚ÄĚ I have¬†dyscalculia¬†‚ÄĒ a lesser-known specific learning difficulty that affects an individual‚Äôs ability to perform basic math skills, making math classes for both children and even college students with the disorder nearly impossible.¬†Read more at The Pitt News.

Hiring a Teenager to be an Aide for my Teen with Special Needs was the Best Decision

Hiring an aide for my daughter was a tough thing for me to wrap my brain around. You’d think it would be an easy decision. My daughter, Emily, had both a cognitive and physical disability. Taking care of her took up most of my time. But she’s my daughter, my responsibility, and besides, I knew how to do everything just right. However, in order to receive some county services that Emily needed, we had to hire an aide. Read more at Home Sweet Home.


Moms of kids with autism may show subtle signs of the condition themselves

The mothers of kids with autism often have subtle traits of the condition that are not enough for an autism diagnosis, but that could indicate a genetic link for autism spectrum disorder, according to a new study. Read more at Insider.


Remote but Inclusive for Years, and Now Showing Other Companies How

From her home in Beaverton, Ore., Jamie Davila leads a team of eight engineers in seven states for the technology start-up Ultranauts. Like millions of other people during these work-from-home times, she relies on popular communication tools like Zoom and Slack.

But Ms. Davila and Ultranauts also work remotely in ways that make them different from most companies. They follow a distinctive set of policies and practices to promote diversity and inclusion among employees. Read more at The New York Times.


With Nowhere to Go, Teens Flock to Among Us

When an indie game company created¬†Among Us¬†in 2018, it was greeted with little fanfare. The multiplayer game remained under the radar as many games do ‚ÄĒ until the summer of the pandemic.

Eager to keep viewers entertained during quarantine, Chance Morris, known online as Sodapoppin, began streaming the game, created by InnerSloth, to his 2.8 million followers on Twitch in July. Read more at The New York Times.

Thanks for joining us again this week. We hope you enjoyed this edition of TECA Insights. Please let us know what you think.  If you come across an article or resource that you think our community would benefit from, please share it with us. We look forward to hearing from you!